17 Ways to Murder an Idea

Roger Neill
Synectics Corporation

A few years ago, one of my colleagues wrote an article entitled: Why are marketing people the enemies of innovation? It certainly did not make him popular but it remains an intriguing question. One reason is that the churn, the endless treadmill of marketing executives from one assignment to the next, seems faster and faster. One of our major multinational clients calculated that their marketing managers spend on average nine months in a particular role before moving on. Another possibility is that marketing folk have assumed that they are the custodians of creativity in their organisations yet so often they seem most skilled in killing off new ideas at birth.

In a survey conducted by Synectics amongst senior and middle managers in the USA, over 80% thought that innovation was a top priority and yet less than 10% thought that their organisations were good at it. This is an extraordinary, perhaps unique, dislocation what we call the 'Innovation Gap'. What is needed is exactly the opposite a wholehearted commitment from marketers to getting the most in terms of creative potential both out of themselves, and their colleagues in all other areas of the business.

Overcoming barriers to creativity